Golfers' WAGs have come to the fore and are stealing the show ahead of the Ryder Cup. Team Europe’s other halves, including the wives of Ian Poulter, Sam Torrance and Justin Rose, were having a ball as they arrived at the famous course in Perthshire. But the American girls were not to be outdone as they arrived at the Gleneagles Hotel in matching outfits (pictured above). Many of the US wives are former cheerleaders, including Phil Mickelson's wife Amy, 40, a former cheerleader with the Phoenix Suns.
The clash, between Europe and the US, starts on Friday and 45,000 spectators are expected every day with an estimated 500m viewers in 183 countries watching on TV. Every two years, Europe's top golfers take on the USA's in a matchplay battle. The Americans used to dominate, but Europe have won five of the last six events - including Colin Montgomerie making up for never claiming a Major with victory as non-playing captain in 2010.The Euro WAGs were captured on camera at the Gleneagles Hotel in Perthshire below. They are led by Allison McGinley, wife of Paul, the European captain, who played golf for England herself and on the Ladies European Tour.
Last-minute preparations have been underway across Gleneagles. Every road and pathway has been busy with golf carts, mobile cranes and trucks. Fairways are being groomed and regroomed, with some of the tractor-drawn mowers flying two flags — one the United States’ stars and stripes, the other the blue flag of Ryder Cup Europe.
The marquees, too, have a nonpartisan air, with one inscription, 30 feet high, quoting Tom Watson, the 65-year-old captain of the American team, on his delight at serving as a Ryder Cup captain for a second time, after his victory as captain in 1993. Watson’s five victories in the British Open — four of them on Scottish courses, although none at Gleneagles — have made him a hugely popular figure among visitors, both European and American, as he tries to end a run in which the United States has been defeated in five of the last six Ryder Cups.
Although local bookmakers have made Europe the favourite, the sense among many visiting the course in recent days has been that an American victory to redeem the team’s loss at the last Cup, in 2012 — when Europe won an astonishing eight of the 12 last-day singles matches at Medinah, outside Chicago, to retain the trophy by a single point, 14 ½ to 13 ½ — would be almost as much of a crowd-pleaser. Lapel buttons with Watson’s image have been even more popular than booster buttons for Rory McIlroy, a 25-year-old from Northern Ireland who will lead the European players.
Interest in the Competition is reaching fever-pitch. Ryder Cup tickets were being offered for resale for more than £1,000 on the leading online exchanges on Tuesday night in defiance of warnings that anyone buying them faced being refused entry. Second-hand tickets listed as “general admission” were on the Viagogo and Stubhub websites three days before golf’s biggest team event tees off at Gleneagles. Stubhub were involved in the unauthorised resale of tickets despite posting a disclaimer on its site admitting customers were not permitted to purchase them. The Competition starts on Friday and the 12 Single matches which form the climax are on Sunday. Here is a picture of the crowds at the first practice sessions in Gleneagles on Tuesday.
There was something unusual at the Oxshott Bridge Club last night as the Committee had organised a "Random Pairing" Teams Competition as a fun event to complete the 2013-14 Club Year. Each Pair drew a card from the Card Lottery as usual, but the partners who sat down at the same Table as you turned out to be your team Members for the evening!! In the end it was indeed a lot of fun and a useful innovation to try. It was really unfortunate that the number of tables totalled eleven which meant that the most complicatred Movement had to be employed and - at three Boards per Table - the total number of Boards exceeded the 32 available in our set!!?? Well everything was resolved by Director Rowena Austin and Automated Scoring Guru Peter Wardle, and we found our way to complete 24 Boards each before the end of the evening.